Freemasonry, or Masonry, is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world, a universal society of friends who seek to become better men through their association with one another and their families. It is a 600-year-old Fraternity with a 3,000-year-old tradition, the prototype of most modern fraternal societies and service organizations.
In a society whose moral values are being severely tested, Masonry brings men together for fellowship and the promotion of integrity and good citizenship.
Masonry requires a belief in God and urges its members to be faithful to their own religious beliefs, but it is not a religion.
It encourages its members and their families to be good citizens and to choose their own best means of political expression, but it is not a political organization.
Its charitable activities and good works are for the benefit of all humankind, but it is not a benefit society or welfare institution.
Freemasons have private ceremonies for some meetings, but it is not otherwise a secret organization. Masons welcome men of all races, ethnicities, religious denominations, and political creeds. They participate in many community projects, including support of hospitals, clinics and other health facilities for children and adults. Freemasons provide more than a million dollars every day to support charitable causes.
Freemasons take an oath to live up to the highest moral standards, to practive brotherly love and patriotism in the best sense. Would anyone want to keep these things secret?
[Portions of the above text are from a pamplet published by the Grand Lodge of New York, F&AM, entitled "Answers to Questions about the Masonic Fraternity".]
What Is Freemasonry?, by the United Grand Lodge of England.
What Freemasonry Is, by the United Grand Lodge of England.
The Real Secret of Freemasonry, by Jeffrey O. Nations,
Grand Master, Grand Lodge AF&AM of Missouri.